Junior Cert English: Our Guide To The ‘Final Assessment’

New Junior Certificate English 2017 SEC Sample Paper

Specification Outline


Students will sit a two-hour written examination paper. They will be required to engage with, demonstrate comprehension of, and respond to stimulus material. The content and format of the examination papers may vary from year to year. In any year, the learning outcomes to be assessed will constitute a sample of the outcomes from the tables of learning outcomes. The examination takes place at the end of 3rd Year.



Based on the two sample papers posted on www.examinations.ie, this could be quite a varied paper each year.


During the exam

Based on both samples, the Final Assessment exam lasts for two hours and is worth a total of 180 marks. There will be approximately 11-12 questions worth a varying quantity of marks. Students should practise working out the amount of time each question deserves based on the amount of marks it is worth and timing themselves to respond accordingly.

Students should also consider answering the questions in which they are most competent and/or that are worth the most marks first.

'Full Marks’ Sample Answers

Section A – Question 1 (20 marks) from SEC Sample Paper 1

The first element of the above talk that I believe would have made it engaging for the listening audience is the speaker’s use of rhetorical questions. These questions, opening with, “What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?”, are asked to get the audience thinking about their own lives and personal experiences, and they ensure that the audience are more prepared and willing to engage with what the speaker will go on to tell them about his own life.

Furthermore, for many audience members, these questions will also encourage them to compare their own experiences to those of the speaker, and this comparison is likely to make the speaker’s talk all the more compelling because the nature of his experience (i.e. he is one of the few people ever to go to space) starkly contrasts the more everyday nature of the lives likely to be led by his audience.

Another element of the speaker’s talk that makes it more engaging is the blow-by-blow style in which he recounts his experience. This technique builds on his opening with questions (something that would already have got his audience into the mind-set of imagining someone else’s experience) and allows the audience to experience the sights and sounds of the speaker’s experience before the launch.

For many, being encouraged to imagine the experience as if they themselves were having it would also stimulate them to think and feel as the speaker did in that situation, thus creating a sense of empathy.

Lastly, I think the speaker’s use of a clip to conclude his talk is another element that is effective in its engagement of the audience. Having first made the audience consider and imagine what the build-up to the launch must have been like, the speaker then ‘spells out’ what the launch itself would have been like by playing a dramatic recording of it.

This is almost like the audience having to read a book before being allowed to watch the film adaptation of it and ensures that the audience are ready and interested to see what happens next. Also, the speaker’s playing of the clip to conclude seems to imply his belief that his own words are not enough to convey the experience of a space shuttle launch; the audience must see and experience it for themselves.

Section B – Question 7 (16 marks) from SEC Sample Paper 2

Beginning B – justification of chosen ending:

I think Ending 1 is the ending of the novel begun by Beginning B for a number of reasons. Firstly, both passages refer to the characters of the ‘old man’ and ‘a boy’ who accompanies him.

Secondly, the tone and style of both passages is quite similar. Both are written in third-person, are quite descriptive, and seem a little sad, if not melancholy.

Lastly, both passages share references to water and nature, references that make it difficult to believe that these passages do not complement each other.


Beginning C – justification of chosen ending:

Ending 2 seems the most likely ending for the novel opened by Beginning C. Firstly, both passages are written in first-person and seem quite autobiographical, whether the narrator is fictional or not.

Second, both passages are written in non-standard English, a dialect that, to me, seems African-American, something that’s supported by the line, ‘Taking care a white babies’.

Though the narrator’s use of language becomes more formal by the ending passage (something you could expect in a Bildungsroman-type text where the narrator grows as the story unfolds), the ending passage still contains some lapses in language: ‘my eyes is wide open’, ‘like I been doing’, ‘ain’t too old’, etc. that are consistent with the language used in Beginning C.

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